While being able to safely get underneath your vehicle to do work for long stretches of time is fine, but sometimes getting into the car is simply not going to cut it. In this case, you need to take parts of the car out to work on, and the engine happens to be the most common of these parts. That is why we have found the best hoist and leveler available. It is important to remember that the leveler is just as necessary as the hoist to ensure that you are able to work on the engine without any issue. The hoist alone will put you in a position where you have to work harder and under less safe conditions than with a leveler.
Top Pick (Engine Hoist)
Dragway Tools 2-Ton Engine Hoist
Dragway Tools is actually a brand owned by a small company named Affordable Tools, headquartered out of Erie, MI. It is a bit of diamond in the rough as this company has actually been around since 2005, though few people had heard of “Craig’s Affordable Tools” until they opened an Amazon store. It is important to note that Affordable Tools, and by proxy Dragway Tools, is a wholesaler, which means they do not make their products. Dragway Tools may be assembled in the USA, but they do not sell any American made engine hoists. That said, this is still easily one of the best engine hoists we found, and many of its specs are outright impressive.
For some basic fare, the Dragway Tools 2 ton engine hoist cherry picker is made of thick gauge steel throughout its construction. On top of that, it features 6 fully-rotating 3” caster wheels for quick and easy transportation. Altogether, this makes the Dragway Tools 2 ton motor hoist incredibly durable and versatile for most settings or arrangements. This is clearly demonstrated with the impressive 2 ton weight capacity which is more than enough to handle both big block engines as well as diesel engines. Of course, the quality of this action is owed almost entirely to the fact that it uses an incredibly powerful and reliable hydraulic mechanism.
It is important to note that there is a big difference between the tonnage that a hydraulic pump can manage and the specified tonnage a hoist can handle. Keeping that in mind, the Dragway Tools motor hoist features an 8 ton hydraulic ram to ensure that the hydraulic pump will not wear out anytime soon, even if you use the cherry picker engine lift frequently. Regardless, the fully-hydraulic action is easy to do with the single lever that manages the entire process with the pull of a hand.
One thing to note is that some customers observed that the Dragway Tools cherry picker engine hoist has a tendency to be a bit unbalanced when extended. If you look, the engine hoist boom actually has multiple capacities depending on the extension. When fully extended, which is a fairly long distance, the weight capacity drops down to as low as 1000 lbs. That said, this brings us to another great feature of the Dragway Tools heavy duty engine hoist which is its boom range.
One of the more important considerations when working in a professional garage is how long the engine hoist can extend. This is because a professional garage likely has numerous jobs going on simultaneously, and usable room may be scarce. If you have a cherry picker hoist that can extend from an unused corner, you now have more usable room in your garage. The Dragway Tools engine hoist boom extends a full 102” which is well over 8’. This is another area where the 6 3” caster wheels come into play, making the Dragway Tools a viable shop engine hoist that can be easily wheeled into or out of use.
Of course, that portability only begins with how easy it is to actually move the Dragway Tools shop hoist as this is also one of the best folding engine hoists as well. Considering that the unfolded dimensions to require 5’ at the base, the ability to fold up this motor hoist when not in use only adds to its convenience and overall value. Though one area where you will not find much value with the Dragway Tools cherry picker hoist is the actual price, but it is well within the average price for a high-end model.
- Has a 102” boom range
- Made of steel
- Has 6 fully-rotating 3” caster wheels
- Has a 2 ton weight capacity
- Has a fully hydraulic action
- Has an 8 ton hydraulic ram
Not the easiest to assemble
Not the most weighted
Top Pick (Engine Leveler)
OTC 4305 Engine Load Leveler
OTC has already made a fairly good name for themselves well before they were acquired and became part of the Bosch automotive group. These days, OTC has been allowed to grow within its own borders while still receiving assistance from a multinational German company renowned for their precision. Though Bosch got their start making power tools and is now one of the top 3 professional grade power tool manufacturers in the world, they have quickly transitioned to the automotive market where their precision and attention to detail come in handy.
Few products need to be as precise as an engine load leveler and the OTC 4305 provides not only ideal precision but less than ideal precision if preferred. This is all due to the incredibly effective horizontal lift that the OTC 4305 engine leveler employs. Basically, this horizontal lift allows you to adjust the weight distribution of the engine across the four connected lengths of chain. While this is generally used to ensure that the oil remains either horizontally or vertically level, the OTC 4305 hoist leveler actually allows you to work on the engine in virtually any position.
Specifically, this motor leveler will actually allow you to safely work on your engine at virtually any angle. That said, there are some limitations to how crazy you can get with your working angle as the included chains are only 1’ long. While this is more than sufficient for working or a horizontally level engine and even an engine at a slight angle, it is not long enough to work on the largest of engines at the sharpest of angles. You will need a motor hoist leveler with longer clearance to accomplish that task, though it is important to remember that the longer the chains are, the thicker gauge they need to be.
At only 1’ long, OTC is still taking no chances and makes it a point to use heavy-duty chains making the OTC a heavy-duty engine leveler. On top of that, the entire motor hoist leveler is made of solid steel, so durability is not an issue. Altogether, the heavy-duty chains and the steel base provide the OTC heavy duty motor leveler a solid 1500 lb weight capacity. This again highlights that the OTC engine hoist tilter might offer you plenty of options and versatility for the right engine, but it should not be pushed past its intended use. Thankfully, most engines weigh less than 1000 lbs, even heavy-duty engines, so this should not be much of a constraint.
- Has a 1500 lb weight capacity
- Has a horizontal tilt
- Has a universal attachment
- Can support off-center work
- Chains are 1’ long
- Made of steel
- Not for the largest engines